By GeoffreyFarinha | January 25, 2011 1:54 PM
The Sony Ericsson X10 Mini is truly a unique smartphone. With a form-factor unlike any other Android device, our final review is sure to be very interesting. So, check it out below!
If you have already seen our video coverage you can skip to the bottom of the page and watch the final video review.
This device was created with the idea of single-handed operation in mind. Due to this, Sony has created a custom user interface for the X10 Mini. Users can easily swipe left and right through the menu system. Navigation is literally a breeze. Despite the fact that this is a custom skin of the Android operating system, users can still take advantage of the Android Market and applications such as Facebook and YouTube. The simple (yet addicting), game “Peggle” is also presinstalled on the device.
However, the X10 Mini utilizes Android 1.6. Which means that some applications may not be available for download on this device, as they are not compatible. The official Twitter application is an example of such.
The hardware of the X10 Mini is quite impressive considering its extremely small size. The smaller 2.5″ screen does take some getting used to, however its touch sensitivity is very accurate. Once again, Sony’s custom UI really makes this device usable. If you’re after a small form factor you’ll be filled with joy when you discover that you often forget that the X10 Mini is even in your pocket. Sony has gone a step further than most manufacturers by including four different color backplates. The user can choose which one to put on their phone, truly making it “theirs”. Combined with the included headphones, the X10 Mini can also listen to FM Radio stations. Finally, like many other smartphones, the X10 Mini offers GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.0.
Unfortunately, the X10 Mini’s screen lacks in the resolution department. At only 240 x 320 images do not look as “full” as they do on some of the higher end screens such as the Samsung Galaxy S. Also, the maximum size MicroSD Card that the X10 Mini is capable of reading is 16GB. It is possible that this could be addressed in a software update but until then, we do not know if this restriction is hardware or software based.
Overall, the 600mhz processor does a great job keeping up with the custom UI that is overlayed on top of Android 1.6. Simple tasks such as browsing the Android Market, sending text messages, checking Facebook and playing Peggle were very snappy. However, loading “busy” websites and longer YouTube videos seemed to take ages. Also, intense twitter feeds tend to lock up while scrolling. All in all, Sony’s custom user interface does a good job of coping with the processor speed of this device.
Call quality on the X10 Mini can be separated into two sections, what the caller on the other end hears, and what the user hears. The user of the X10 Mini hears great quality sound while on a phone call. While it’s not the best out there, it certainly exceeds a majority of the market. Words were easy to understand and there seemed to be no loss in quality. Using speakerphone is where the X10 Mini really shines. Equipped with an extremely loud speaker, it is easy to hear your caller even in noisy environments.
Sound quality for the user on the other end of the line is a different story. While callers stated they could hear words and audio fine they all noted that it sounded muffled and somewhat distant. This is likely due to the small form factor of the X10 Mini. Because the device is shorter than most phones, the microphone is further away from the users mouth, making the call sound distant and muffled.
With a small device also comes a small battery. The X10 Mini’s battery is rated at 3.5 hours talk time and 15 days standby time. Both of these figures are lower than most other smartphone devices. This means that if you are a heavy user who makes many phone calls per day while possibly sending text messages, checking email, and using applications, you will definitely need to keep a charger nearby. Heavy users will likely charge their X10 Mini once if not twice during a typical day of use. Medium users will cut it close and may need to juice up once. Whereas, light users should be able to squeeze through a day just fine.
PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY
The X10 Mini is priced very affordably at only about $325 and is available at Clove.co.uk
+ Small form-factor
+ Great custom user interface
+ Easy to use and navigate
+ Loud speaker for calling and media
+ Four different color backplates included
+ Decent camera equipped with flash
- Lack of full QWERTY keyboard
- Short battery life
- Non-removable battery
- Android 1.6 application compatibility
- Processor holds back some applications
- Low screen resolution
- Somewhat muffled call quality
- Maximum 16GB microSD Card
At the end of the day, the X10 Mini is a great device that certainly will meet the needs of many users. If you are after small form factor, this device is perfect. If you also find that you aren’t going to be writing lengthy emails or text messages, once again, this device may be for you. However, if you’re looking for a full qwerty keyboard, you may want to look elsewhere (or wait for the X10 Mini Pro).
Without further adieu, here is our final review video.